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Visit to Burundi of Bishop Mvume Dandala, General Secretary of the All Africa Conference of Churches
EAB PRESS 040905-1
September 5, 2004

[EAB Press - Burundi] Bishop Mvume Dandala, the General Secretary of All Africa Conference of Churches, based in Nairobi, is making a 4-day visit to Burundi in order to encourage the churches and to meet Church leaders. Accompanied by his wife, Pumzile, and his private secretary, Nicholas Otieno, Bishop Dandala joined the congregation at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Bujumbura, for worship on Sunday 5th September, along with representatives of the National Council of Churches in Burundi, including Bishop Noe Nzeyimana, the General secretary. In his sermon, Bishop Dandala stressed the sanctity of human life, calling on Governments to protect life because it is holy. He challenged the congregation to go where there is hatred and encourage dialogue, to confront despair and fear with hope and assurance, and to proclaim the power of the resurrection in the face of death.

Later that day the group visited Gatumba where Congolese Banyamulenge were massacred at the end of August. They went to the site of the massacre and to the grave where 159 victims are buried. Addressing the survivors, Bishop Dandala reiterated his message that no one has the right to destroy and take the life of another. Human beings are created in the image of God and life is sacred. It is not always possible to understand what happens but God’s love is sure, even for those who perpetrated the massacre though God hates their actions.

During his visit Bishop Dandala will be listening to Church leaders of all denominations. He is due to meet leaders of the country, including the President, Domitien Ndayizeye, and the vice-president, in order to persuade them to pursue a peace process based on unity, and to take full responsibility for preparations for good and fair elections that are scheduled at the end of the transitional period.

Commenting on part of Bishop Dandala’s message that Africa would be saved by the hand of God the Rt. Rev. Pie Ntukamazina, Bishop of Bujumbura, concluded, “There is hope for Africa, and that hope is based on the Gospel that African Churches are preaching.”